Solar Physics

, Volume 160, Issue 2, pp 371–378 | Cite as

Overlooked sunspot observations by Hevelius in the early Maunder Minimum, 1653–1684

  • Douglas V. Hoyt
  • Kenneth H. Schatten


In the bookMachina Coelestis (1679), Johannes Hevelius lists his daily solar observations from 1653 to 1679. He mentions 19 sunspot groups during this interval, of which 14 are unique to Hevelius and five are confirmed by other observers. There are an additional 9 sunspot groups during this interval that were not observed by Hevelius. In five cases he was not observing, but in the other four cases he did observe but failed to comment upon sunspots. The spots he missed or failed to observe tend to occur near the end of his career. This suggests Hevelius occasionally missed sunspots but usually was a reliable observer. These observations are important because they provide us the only known daily listing of solar observations during the early years of the Maunder Minimum. They are also important because they were overlooked by Wolf, Spoerer, Maunder, Eddy, and others in their study of solar activity in the seventeenth century. They provide us the best record of the sunspot maximum of 1660 when one sunspot lasted at least 86 days as it traversed the solar disk four times. The same region was active for seven solar rotations.


Solar Activity Seventeenth Century Solar Disk Sunspot Group Solar Rotation 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas V. Hoyt
    • 1
  • Kenneth H. Schatten
    • 2
  1. 1.Research and Data Systems, Corp.GreenbeltUSA
  2. 2.NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 936GreenbeltUSA

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